Things You Did Not Know About the Town Hall….

Things You Did Not Know About the Town Hall….

Did you know that the late great former Mayor of Carleton Place Brian Costello’s father and mother once were the caretakers of the town hall and lived in a former basement apartment?

When Brian’s children came to visit their grandparents thought they lived in the biggest house in Carleton Place.

Frank and Gertie Costello were on duty 7 days a week 24 hours a day just in case of a fire call. The caretaker’s role included the fire dispatcher’s job.

On some nights the Costellos could hear the drunks who sometimes inhabited the the cells behind the bedroom walls and the police would come and go at all hours.

One Christmas his Frank Costello felt sorry for prisoners who were away from their families and invited them from their cells to share in the season of a fine meal at the Costellos.

When Gertie Costello would bake– she would make two pies: one for the family and another for the police and the prisoners.

Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage  Museum-by Blaine Cornell

When Ray McIsaac began as police chief in 1953 the police station consisted of two desks in a room sandwiched between the library and the fire hall, with cells for prisoners downstairs. The council chambers doubled as the courtroom and on Thursday morning court was in session.

The Fireman’s Ball was held in the town hall auditorium. Held the last Friday in January the event attracted 1,100 to 1,200 people and the ball would not end until the wee hours of the morning.

The CFRA Happy Wanderers also performed every Saturday night in the auditorium for 4-5 years. Attracting 600-800 people the whole police force would be working which was 4 men.

Once in awhile the police would bring in someone for questioning and people in the library would try and eavesdrop. The late great Barbara Walsh used to go up to them and tap them on the shoulder and tell them to move along. When Walsh started in 1960 she was one of only two women in the building along with the clerk’s assistant Isobel Shail. Thing have changed but —- do you know there have been only 7 women elected to council/mayor since 1905? The building was full of men and they had a smoking room set aside across from the clerks office where they could discuss matters during breaks.

The library moved out in 1970 to the present library on Beckwith Street. The Fire Department also was in the same building until the move to Coleman Street in 1997. The town hall used to be jammed with trucks and equipment and used to be crammed pretty tight. They used to put the old ladders through the old windows at the back from time to time. All this from a former wee house sitting on a piece of land once owned by William Morphy in 1820.

Photo- Linda Seccaspina

Dan Williams

When I was a kid the town hall including the auditorium was wide open. You could go in and discover stuff!. The balcony was a great place to go, or behind the stage which was pretty much unused spaced sort of like the attic in an old house. You could however make your way to the tower! Fun times! The other thing I remember about the auditorium is the annual Fireman’s Ball. I was just a kid but I remember being there and hanging around in front of the stage listening to some country band playing “On the wings of a snow white dove”. I hated country!

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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